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The effects of a psychological brand contract breach on customers' dysfunctional behavior toward a brand

Taeshik Gong (College of Business and Economics, Hanyang University ERICA, Ansan, The Republic of Korea)
Chen-Ya Wang (Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 11 March 2021

Issue publication date: 15 June 2021

669

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces the concept of dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand and argues that when customers perceive that a brand has failed to fulfill its promises, a psychological brand contract breach occurs, which in turn leads to a psychological brand contract violation, which evokes dysfunctional customer behavior toward the brand. In addition, this study investigates whether the impact of a breach of this contract is dependent on brand relationship quality, brand apology and restitution.

Design/methodology/approach

Study 1 conducted the online survey and 224 respondents were used for data analysis and the moderating role of brand relationship quality was examined. Study 2 conducted an experiment with 201 participants to test the moderating role of brand apology and restitution.

Findings

This study found the moderating role of brand relationship quality, brand apology and brand restitution on the relationship between a psychological brand contract breach and dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand (i.e. brand-negative word-of-mouth, brand retaliation and brand boycott), which is mediated by psychological brand contract violation.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of dysfunctional customer behavior toward a brand by integrating the literature on brand management with the organizational literature on psychological contracts between organizations and their employees. Furthermore, this study sheds light on the effectiveness of reparative actions by the firm after occurrence of the psychological brand contract breach.

Keywords

Citation

Gong, T. and Wang, C.-Y. (2021), "The effects of a psychological brand contract breach on customers' dysfunctional behavior toward a brand", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 607-637. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-09-2020-0217

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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